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Home » News » Crime

November 27. 2013 4:06PM

Portsmouth man draws prison term for assault outside of The Page Restaurant


Josiah Mayo, 26, appears Tuesday in Rockingham County Superior Court where he was sentenced 7-1/2 to 15 years for an assault outside of The Page Restaurant. (JAMES A. KIMBLE PHOTO)

BRENTWOOD — A Portsmouth man who claimed that he thought he was acting in self-defense when he kicked a man in the head outside of The Page Restaurant received the maximum sentence of 7½ to 15 years in state prison on Tuesday.

Josiah Mayo, 26, was sentenced Tuesday on a single count of first-degree assault for delivering a single kick to the head of Zachary Green July 15, 2012, while he was standing outside of The Page near closing time.

A jury convicted him after a four-day trial last month in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Mayo had lashed out at Green after remarks were exchanged between his friends and other bar patrons, according to prosecutors.

Severe injuries

Green suffered a skull fracture and intracranial bleeding and spent three days in the Intensive Care Unit of a local hospital. He has since lost sense of taste and smell, experiences memory issues and post-traumatic stress, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

"He's not comfortable in certain social situations. There's no question that this man has changed him," Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said of Green.

Judge N. William Delker called Green's injuries "tragic" because he was simply trying to defuse an emotionally charged situation involving his friends when he was attacked.

"He tried to calm them down and de-escalate the situation, and unfortunately he got kicked in the head and permanently changed because of that behavior," Delker said.

Mayo apologized to Green, who sat in the front row of the court gallery on Tuesday. Mayo maintained he was only looking to defend a cousin he believed was being assaulted by a group of people.

"I didn't mean to fracture his skull. The entire event happened so fast. I am truly sorry," Mayo said.

That apology soon came under attack by Conway, saying two witnesses who had no stake in the trial contradicted Mayo's self-defense claim.

"Zach Green was standing there minding his own business and a kick came out of nowhere and knocked him out," Conway said. "Zach Green was not involved in any kind of altercation that night."

Conway said a video seen by the jury corroborated those witness statements.

Defense lawyer Patrick Mulvey argued that his client should serve a two- to four-year prison term. Mulvey suggested that Green's injury truly occurred from his head hitting the pavement, not his client's sneaker. He said that Mayo's decision was a "split-second decision" made in defense of his cousin.

A history of violence

Conway also argued that Mayo's criminal record, dating back to 2005, showed a long history of violent behavior. Mayo previously served state prison time for a 2005 incident where he put a gun to another person's head and threatened to kill him. He pistol whipped the man, and was later convicted of second-degree assault, receiving stolen property and criminal threatening, according to Conway.

He also has convictions in 2006 for simple assault, and an aggravated assault conviction in Maine from 2007.

The victim in the Maine case was repeatedly punched in the head and kicked, and suffered from a torn tear duct and fractures to his eye socket.

"Frankly, judge, I don't know if the community is safe when he is not in jail and not incarcerated," Conway said. "Even with this sentence, he will be out in his 30s so he will get out."

Mayo will be allowed to petition to have 2½ years suspended from his prison term if he can remain on good behavior for five years and complete all court-ordered treatment and counseling.

The Page closed its doors earlier this year after another assault where a bar patron received a fatal punch to the head. The suspect in that case is expected to go on trial in January.

jkimble@newstote.com


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